Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Sunday tore into House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for “not telling the truth” about their party’s role in the deadly insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol in January.
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Kinzinger told host Chris Wallace that forming a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack — like the commission formed after 9/11 — is critical and that efforts to block its creation by McCarthy and other GOP leaders are reprehensible.
“What we need is a comprehensive look of what happened that led up to Jan. 6,” Kinzinger said. “Who was talking to who? What were the lies?”
“The American people deserve the truth,” he continued, “and my party to this point has said things like it was hugs and kisses, it was antifa and [Black Lives Matter], it was anything but what it was, which was a Trump-inspired insurrection on the Capitol.”
McCarthy initially blamed then-President Donald Trump for the Capitol attack, linking Trump’s divisive rhetoric and lies about the election to the violence at the country’s seat of government. McCarthy allegedly shouted at Trump over the phone as the president’s supporters were storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, telling Trump to call off the attack.
But less than a month later, Trump appeared to be in McCarthy’s good graces again: McCarthy met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Jan. 29 to discuss how the GOP can win back the House in 2022.
The House voted Wednesday to establish the commission to investigate the attack, with 35 Republicans, including Kinzinger, joining Democrats to support the panel’s creation in spite of opposition from McCarthy and other top GOP members.
The bipartisan vote sets up a showdown with the Senate, where Republicans led by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) may filibuster the bill because the investigation could be politically damaging for the Republican Party.
“I do think Kevin has failed to tell the truth to the Republicans and to the American people,” Kinzinger said Sunday. “And it pains me to say it. It’s not like I enjoy standing up and saying this.”
He added that the 74 million people who voted for Trump in the 2020 election, and specifically the ones who believe the election was stolen, have been misled by some of their representatives.
“The people they trust have either been silent or not told them the truth,” Kinzinger said. “That’s where Kevin has failed, because he told the truth ... then he went to Mar-a-Lago and said Donald Trump’s the leader of the party. He’s right ― Donald Trump is the leader of the party. But we need to tell people the truth.”
Some Republicans looking to torpedo any efforts to move forward with the commission have questioned why it is necessary given the other investigations being conducted by federal law enforcement agencies and congressional committees. However, the 9/11 terrorist attacks were under investigation from law enforcement and congressional committees; that didn’t stop Congress from creating its commission, which uncovered material that committees missed.
There are still several major unanswered questions about the Jan. 6 attack that need to be answered, including what Trump did or didn’t do to stop the riot.
Watch Kinzinger’s full interview on “Fox News Sunday” below: